Mozambique: Archbishop of Beira condemns wave of kidnappings, warns of impunity

Photo: O País

The Archbishop of Beira, Cláudio Dalla Zuanna, on Sunday condemned the wave of kidnappings in Mozambique and warned that the incidents may be linked to state institutions. Dalla Zuanna also underlined that the situation was dangerous, as the perpetrators of the crime may even have infiltrates institutions of justice.

Speaking on the sidelines of a graduation ceremony at the Catholic University of Mozambique, the archbishop warned that isolated gestures and actions were not enough to stop kidnappings, and called for a unified effort to fight a crime which has taken on alarming proportions in the country.

Cláudio Dalla Zuanna also said that the kidnappings were proof of the existence of organised crime in the country – a very dangerous situation – and drew attention to the danger of an atmosphere of impunity, possibly a sign that criminals had infiltrated the institutions of justice.

“Organised crime may even infiltrate institutions and compromise work and service,” he warned.

In the latest report on the general state of justice in the country, the Attorney General of the Republic, Beatriz Buchili, said that 14 criminal cases for kidnapping were registered in 2021, against 18 in 2020, while acknowledging that there could be cases not officially registered.

For the Archbishop of Beira, it is essential that all sectors of society get involved in the fight against kidnapping, whose main targets are businesspeople or people linked to them.

“We have to find answers together. Academic, political and judicial institutions, families and society in general must get involved to make room for the good.”

On May 19, Safiyyah Firoz ,a 19-year-old student, was kidnapped shortly after leaving the premises of the Catholic University of Mozambique in Beira. She was dragged into a light vehicle by three armed individuals, and her whereabouts remain unknown.

ALSO READ: Mozambique: 18-year-old student kidnaped this morning in Ponta Gea, Beira

“It was with great sadness that we learned of the kidnapping of our student. I would like to express my solidarity with her family, who must be suffering greatly at this time,” the archbishop said.

Dean of the Catholic University of Mozambique in Beira, Father Filipe Sungo, was incisive in his statements, emphasising the necessity for energetic action to combat an evil known to all, that weakens the rule of law.

“We have to stop this economy of kidnapping, corruption, terrorism, nepotism, arrogance, dictatorship, excessive ambition, robberies, murders and other evils,” Father Sungo said.

Student Bernardete Zacarias gave voice to the students outraged and terrified by the kidnapping, which has shocked the city of Beira and Mozambican society in general.

“It’s very sad. Very sad indeed,” she lamented, visibly moved.

The mayor of Beira, Albano Macie, also spoke about the growing wave of kidnappings, the fight against which showed little sign of progress.

Source: O País

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